South Tyrone Empowerment Programme
12 Beechvalley Way
Dungannon, Co Tyrone
Tel:028 8775 0211
STEP in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive were delighted to hold an exclusive screening of the award winning documentary “Mary Meets Mohammad” in the Square Box, Ranfurly House, Dungannon last Thursday evening. The event was of great interest to many community members and support organisations in the Mid-Ulster area with the delivery of key messages relevant to today’s society regarding attitudes towards refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers.
The 2013 documentary film by Heather Kirkpatrick follows the arrival of Tasmania’s first detention centre through the eyes of local Christian woman and knitting club member Mary and Muslim Afghan Hazara asylum seeker Mohammad, who is detained inside the centre, as they connect through the gift of a knitted beanie. It has won acclaim across the globe and was the winner of the 2014 Special Award United Nations Media Prize.
Roisin McAliskey, STEP continues “It was great to see many community representatives from local organisations and council representatives from the Mid-Ulster Council at the event. The film provoked debate about the similarity of negative attitude and pre-judgement that occurs thousands of miles away in Australia as we often see here in NI. The film provided an insight into how this generalised view can be changed when a one-to-one relationship develops. Thus the “mass” becomes “a person” and people begin to see each other as fellow human beings who happen to find themselves in challenging situations”.
Linda Hutchinson, Race Relations Officer from NIHE chaired a discussion about issues within the film, the current situation with refugees from Syria coming to NI and local misconceptions around the entitlements of refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants. The audience agreed that the documentary would be a very useful educational tool in local schools and community groups to give people a better insight and understanding of issues.
STEP hopes to work with the NIHE to hold further screenings of “Mary Meets Mohammed” in the Mid-Ulster council area in the coming months.
Pic 1 Bernadette McAliskey (STEP) Lynda Hutchinson (Housing Executive) Doreen Donaldson (Housing Executive) Philip Clarke (Mid Ulster Council) Edel Fox (STEP) and Eliza Hughes (Stronger Together)
Pic 2 Peter Donnelly Bronagh Nic an Ultaigh Micky Boyle (Willowbank)
Pic 3 Edel Fox, Julia Walshe, Roisin Mcaliskey and Lina Zeimiene (STEP)
Pic 4 Maria Killen Charlotte Turner, Sinead Cavanagh and Laura McGeehan (BCM Support)
Pic 5 Doreen Donaldson and Katrina Farley (Housing Executive Dungannon)